In recent years, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy has become one of the hottest things going. You probably know that James Gunn‘s movie sequel is on the way, but you should also know that Disney XD’s animated series continues the adventures of the space superheroes (not connected to the MCU, however) as it returns for Season 2.
The title team, composed of Star-Lord (Will Friedle), Gamora (Vanessa Marshall), Drax the Destroyer (David Sobolov), Rocket Raccoon (Trevor Devall), and Groot (Kevin Michael Richardson) get a bit of an assist in the early going of Season 2 thanks to a fun, action-packed appearance by none other than Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers. Showing up for the fun are Captain America (Roger Craig Smith), Iron Man (Mick Wingert), the Hulk (Fred Tatasciore), Ant-Man (Grant George), and a surprise appearance by Captain Marvel (Grey Griffin). Of course, whether or not these super-egos get along is another issue.
For those of you who haven’t caught up with Season 1 of Disney XD’s animated series, here’s a bit of a refresher: The Guardians of the Galaxy got their hands on something called the Spartaxian CryptoCube which contained a map leading to the Cosmic Seed, a powerful weapon capable of creating a new universe. The race was on to keep the device out of the hands of a host of ne’er-do-wells, including Thanos, Ronan the Accuser, Nebula, Korath the Pursuer, and Yondu and his Ravagers. Our heroes were successful in this endeavor because of course they were, and they even managed to buy themselves some time to deliver the Cosmic Seed into the protection of Thor.
That’s where Season 2 picks up. Well … sort of. It seems the Guardians wanted to reward their victory with a quick trip to New York City for some R&R and souvenirs. But duty calls and the Guardians soon get back on track to take the seed to Thor. However, they get sidetracked by the sudden appearance of Thanos’ asteroid, Sanctuary. It’s their investigation that leads them into conflict with the Avengers, and needless to say, the intrusion of the title team of thieves into the superheroes’ stronghold does not go over well.
The first half hour, titled “Stayin’ Alive” in keeping with the series’ musically themed episodes, gives viewers what they want: an all-out battle between the Guardians and the Avengers. A greater threat soon arises and forces the two teams to cooperate–which is smoothed over by Star-Lord revealing that they’re looking for Thor–but the heroes-vs-heroes fight is fun while it lasts, especially the Hulk-Groot confrontation. There are a lot of characters to manage here, but their personalities all get a chance to shine.
It’s in the second half hour, “Evolution Rock,” that the now-united superheroes face a more traditional threat, in the sense that it’s a supervillain with designs on bending other powerful entities to his whims. And in a nice surprise for long-time Marvel Comics fans, it turns out that the High Evolutionary, voiced by the legend-in-the-making Nolan North, is the one pulling the strings this time. If you thought the Guardians vs Avengers battle was fun, it’s even more thrilling to see the team-up take on the very powerful High Evolutionary and his hybrid minions. Perhaps the most curious thing throughout the entire premiere is the mysterious “sarcophagus” hidden away within the asteroid, which quickly becomes the object of everyone’s interest. (Check out our exclusive clip revealing just what that sarcophagus might be.)
Whether this is your first jump into the animated universe of Guardians of the Galaxy or if you’re returning for Season 2, this hourlong premiere is an entertaining bit of comic book action that’s worth checking out, and should serve as the beginning of a thrilling new season.
Rating: ★★★★ Very good
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy on Saturday, March 11th at 9:00 pm, ET/PT on Disney XD.